Sunday 22 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
European Union election monitors said Wednesday that Kenya's flawed presidential poll had "weakened" the country's democracy in a critical report that triggered an angry government response. President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term in an October rerun after his initial victory was nullified by the Supreme Court. The opposition boycotted the fresh poll amid sporadic violence and divisive rhetoric. "Kenyans went from high hopes for these elections to many disappointments and confrontations. Kenya remains deeply divided," EU chief observer Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European parliament, told AFP. The report was scathing in its criticism and, unusually, was launched in Brussels, rather than in the country where the election was held. Schaake said Kenyan authorities were "not prepared"...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
KIPIPIRI, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sitting on a rickety bench at his home in Kipipiri, in central Kenya, Samuel Macharia pulls a piece of paper from his pocket and proudly points to the signature at the bottom. “This paper means I get paid on time for my potatoes, even when the weather is bad,” he said. The precious document is a farming contract Macharia signed in March with the East African Potato Consortium. It says he will sell at least two tonnes of potatoes to food processors each harvesting season for the next two years. “Thanks to this contract I can earn up to 22,000 Kenyan shillings ($213) per season,” he said. Recurring drought and sudden cold spells have...
(The Associated Press 01/03/18)
A Kenyan official says suspected members of the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab have killed five police officers in the northern county of Mandera. North Eastern regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh said Wednesday the vehicle carrying the three police reservists and two administration police officers was attacked. He says several other officers were injured in a second attack on security officials who responded Tuesday evening along the Elwak-Kotulo road. Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks ...
(Reuters 01/03/18)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s telecoms regulator has ditched a proposal to break Safaricom up into separate telecoms and financial services businesses due to its dominant size, Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper said on Wednesday. An initial draft report on boosting competition in the sector, which was leaked in February 2017, had recommended the break up of the firm that is Kenya’s biggest by market value. Business Daily reported the proposal had been dropped from a revised version of the report, which has been circulated to operators for comments. The regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), which had already said it would not break up any firm after a huge outcry following the initial draft report, was not immediately available when Reuters...
(Reuters 01/03/18)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Five Kenyan policemen were killed in an attack on their vehicle in the northeast county of Mandera near the border with Somalia late on Tuesday, a government official in the area said. Dozens of Kenyan security personnel have been killed in recent months in the remote lands near the border with Somalia, in raids by the al Shabaab Islamist militants from Somalia. The group claimed responsibility for the latest attack. Daniel Bundotich, the deputy county commissioner for Mandera South, said those killed included three police reservists, local civilians who usually assist the police and are assigned uniforms and arms. “The militants also set on fire a police lorry ... The police officers were on patrol along Elwak-Kutolo...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 01/02/18)
Thirty-six people were killed and 11 injured early Sunday morning in a head-on collision between a bus and a lorry on a road in central Kenya, police said. "The death toll is now 36," said Rift Valley traffic police chief Zero Arome, explaining the initial toll of 30 had risen, "after six passengers succumbed to injuries in hospital." The accident occurred at 3:00 am (0000 GMT)close to a notorious stretch on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway. A bus travelling from Busia, in western Kenya, collided with a truck coming from Nakuru town. Police said the death toll for that stretch of road has now topped 100 this month alone. Arome said the drivers of both vehicles were among the dead, as well...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/29/17)
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From U.S. President Donald Trump pulling his country out of the Paris climate change deal to devastating hurricanes, floods and droughts wreaking havoc around the world, 2017 has been a rocky year when it comes to climate change. But action to address worsening climate threats has gathered pace globally, from business boardrooms to city mayors’ offices to kitchen dining tables, renewing hopes in the fight against climate change. Below are five people who helped lead the way in 2017: Timoci Naulusala, 12-year-old Fijian boy Timoci Naulusala, whose village in Fiji was devastated by Cyclone Winston in 2016, made an impassioned plea for climate action at the U.N. climate change talks in Bonn in November. “My...
(AFP (eng) 12/27/17)
The director of one of Kenya's best-known ranches was trampled to death by an elephant on Wednesday, wildlife authorities said. The victim, Gilfred Powys, was a director at the 43,000 acre Suyian Ranch in central Laikipia. His family moved from Britain to Kenya in 1914, according to the ranch website. "He is dead after being attacked by an elephant," said Kenya Wildlife Services official Richard Chepkwony. A senior police officer said Powys was trampled while trying to scare away elephants that were destroying a dam wall. "We are informed that is when one of them attacked him and killed him on the spot. It is very unfortunate," the police source said on condition of anonymity. Private ranches used for wildlife...
(The Associated Press 12/20/17)
Ninety-two people were killed during Kenya’s months of election turmoil and dozens of others were sexually assaulted, a human rights watchdog said Wednesday. Most victims “were felled by the bullet” and authorities must account for “how the officers under their command used the live ammunition that had been assigned to them,” according to the report of the independent Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. The group reported 86 cases of sexual or gender-based violence, saying it was “extremely worried” by the emergence of sexual violence “as a weapon of subjugation” during political contests. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has accused Kenyan security forces of killing scores of his supporters. Police have denied it. They also called a recent Human Rights Watch...
(Xinhuanet 12/20/17)
Kenya will implement stringent regulations to curb road carnage that reached a peak this month, officials said on Tuesday. James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, said the government will intensify policing at accident blackspots and crack down on errant motorists this festive season. "We have mapped the blackspots in major highways especially the northern corridor from Mombasa to the Ugandan border with a view to put adequate measures and make them safer," said Macharia. He spoke to reporters in Nairobi in the wake of a rising toll of road accidents in the country that have so far claimed 180 lives since the start of December. Macharia decried the untimely loss of lives along the roads due to gross...
(The Associated Press 12/20/17)
The world must do more to help millions of refugees across sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts more than a quarter of the world’s refugees, the United Nations said Tuesday. U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi spoke to reporters while visiting what until recently was the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in Kenya. “You know, it is very difficult to fund programs in Africa. I am not ashamed to say it,” Grandi said, adding that he fights “all the time” for more aid. Some of the world’s poorest countries, including Uganda and Ethiopia, host hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan and elsewhere. Kenya’s government wants Dadaab, which hosts over 230,000 inhabitants, shut down, but the U.N. is urging patience and says...
(Xinhua 12/20/17)
Kenya's Tana River Basin is expected to see a 43 percent increase in rainfall due to climate change, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said on Tuesday. In a report issued in Nairobi, the IWMI said the basin, which has been grappling with erratic rainfall patterns coupled with severe droughts, is set to experience downpours in the near future thanks to global warming. "The rainfall in the basin will likely increase over the rest of the 21st century with a change of up to 43 percent in mean annual rainfall," said the report. The report warned of challenges that come with the change in rainfall, including destructive floods that could outweigh benefits without proper planning. "The large increase in the...
(The Associated Press 12/20/17)
Kenya’s economy has suffered after months of political turmoil that saw a presidential election nullified and a repeat vote boycotted by the opposition. The Kenya Private Sector Alliance says businesses had lost about $7 billion by November as a result of the instability that also left dozens killed. The World Bank this month lowered Kenya’s growth forecast for this year to 4.9 percent, the worst in five years. Tourism in East Africa’s economic hub has been hurt. Simon Kabu, chief executive officer of Bonfire Adventures, says financial losses have been huge. Instead of seeing tens of thousands of foreign tourists in recent months, they have had fewer than 100. Financial analyst Aly Satchu Khan says the slowdown has led to...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(AFP (eng) 12/14/17)
Kenyan security forces raped, beat and assaulted civilians during violence in recent elections, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. "There was widespread sexual violence against women and girls, and sexual attacks on men," HRW said, in a report titled, "They were men in uniform." The violence, documented during Kenya's election in August by HRW and other rights groups, recorded "police use of excessive force against protesters, killings, beatings and maiming of individuals, looting and destruction of property." The report was based on interviews with 65 women, three girls and three men who were sexually attacked. About half of rapes reported to HRW were gang rapes. "About half of the women interviewed said that they were raped by policemen or men in...
(Xinhuanet 12/14/17)
Death toll from an accident at the Sachangwan blackspot along the busy Nakuru-Eldoret highway on Tuesday has risen to 30, police have confirmed. Regional criminal investigation commander Gideon Kibunja said the midday accident involved 13 vehicles, including a trailer, a commuter bus, minibuses and private vehicles. Kibunja said the accident occurred when a trailer driver who was reportedly being pursued by National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officials lost control of the truck and hit oncoming vehicles. He said the driver later crashed into a commuter bus, which then caused a pile-up involving two other public service vehicles and several private cars. Survivors were rushed to hospitals in Nakuru town, with rescue teams indicating that the causalities are likely to...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Kenya's opposition has postponed a ceremony to swear in its leader Raila Odinga as a parallel president after a controversial poll it boycotted, the party said Sunday. The National Super Alliance (NASA) had planned to inaugurate Odinga on Tuesday -- Kenya's independence day. The veteran politician had pulled out of the national election won by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The party said the decision to put back the swearing-in ceremony and launch of a new People's Assembly to a later date was made "following extensive internal consultations and engagement". Kenya's attorney general has said holding the alternative inauguration would amount to "treason" -- a crime punishable by death -- although Kenya has not executed anyone for 30 years. NASA said in...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/11/17)
Kenya’s opposition said on Sunday it had postponed plans to swear in its leader Raila Odinga as an alternative president, easing political tensions and opening a window for possible talks with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Opposition coalition NASA had planned to publicly “inaugurate” Odinga at a rally on Tuesday, Kenyan independence day, in what the attorney general said this week would be an act of treason. [nL8N1O71U8] Kenyatta was re-elected as Kenya’s president with 98 percent of the vote in a repeat election held on Oct. 26 which Odinga boycotted. He had beaten Odinga in the original poll, held in August, which was nullified by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds following opposition allegations of vote-rigging and other...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...

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